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If you have a great topic that you would like to share with your colleagues, or if you are unsure of what you can write about, email Marketing Coordinator Jenna Bertini at jbertini@wocn.org and she will help get you started!

 

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WOC Nurse Experience at the NSNA 35th Annual MidYear Career Planning Conference

Posted By Jenna A. Bertini, Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Written by Society member Daphne (Weiland) Hodges, BSN, RN, CWOCN.


NSNA 35th Annual MidYear Career Planning Conference

The National Student Nurses’ Association, Inc. (NSNA®) held their 35th Annual MidYear Career Planning Conference in San Diego from November 2-5, 2017. The conference hosted close to 550 nursing students and faculty, where nursing students received information about emerging healthcare trends and learned about legislative issues that impact the nursing profession.

I had the opportunity to represent the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN®) in two sessions. In the first session, ten nursing specialties were represented, including the WOC nursing specialty. 325 student nurses attended the specialty nurse panel session. A small breakout session followed with a greater focus on what WOC nursing is and the resources and support that the WOCN Society offers to members. The students were very enthusiastic about WOC nursing.

After each session, trails of nursing students followed me off-stage and into the hallway for sidebar conversations, questions and selfies, which allowed me to further (informally) plug the endless possibilities and career opportunities for our nurses of tomorrow.

I may be biased, but I believe I left the nursing students with feel-good emotions of smiles, applause and tears as I shared my experiences and the impact that WOC nursing has made on my life and on the lives of people WOC nurses have touched.

Tags:  career  conference  faculty  nsna  nurse  nursing student  panel  professionWOCN Society  session  specialty  student  woc nurse 

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WTA Program On-Site Competency Test Held at Home Care Conference

Posted By Jenna A. Bertini, Friday, August 4, 2017

RitKen and Associates, LLC. exhibited at the Home Care Association of Florida (HCAF) 28th Annual Conference and Trade Show in Orlando, Florida, where they took the opportunity to promote the WOCN® Society, the Continuing Education Center (CEC), the Wound Treatment Associate (WTA) Program and the Ostomy Care Associate (OCA) Program to more than 700 conference attendees.

ANew_WTA_Graduates part of the pre-conference, RitKen and Associates, LLC. held an on-site WTA Program clinical competency test for registered nurses who previously signed up for and completed the program’s online activities. As a result of the on-site clinical competency test, Cindy Valle, RN, of Diamond Home Health, successfully passed and officially became one of the newest graduates of the WTA Program!

During the conference, many attendees expressed their frustration related to the difficulty of finding enough WOC nurses to serve in a variety of health care settings, especially in home and hospice care. RitKen and Associates, LLC. stated, “It was gratifying to hear the expressions of respect for our specialty and professional society from home care and hospice owners, administrators and clinicians.”

HCAF_WTA_BoothRitKen and Associates, LLC. promoted the WTA Program as an extension of the WOC nurse’s reach, emphasizing the clinical role WTA graduates play in health care facilities. Graduates of the WTA Program have the ability to facilitate optimal care for patients with acute and chronic wounds under the direction of the WOC specialty nurse, WOC advanced practice registered nurse or physician. For more information on the WTA Program, please click here.

The WOCN Society would like to thank RitKen and Associates, LLC. for supporting the Society’s clinical and educational efforts to advance the WOC nursing practice and achieve evidence-based outcomes.

Tags:  Acute  booth  Chronic  Clinical  Competency  Education  exhibit  Florida  Graduate  Home care  Hospice  Module  Nurse  Online  registered  Specialty  Test  Training  WOC Nurse  Wound Care  WTA  WTA Program 

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WOCN Society Represented at the National Student Nurses' Association 34th Annual Mid-Year Planning Conference

Posted By Jenna A. Bertini, Monday, February 13, 2017
Updated: Friday, February 10, 2017

Nursing students considering their many options following graduation were introduced to wound, ostomy and continence nursing at the National Student Nurses' Association (NSNA) 34th Annual Mid-Year Planning Conference. More than 600 junior and senior nursing students from across the country attended the conference in Kansas City, Missouri, in November 2016.

WOCN Society member Carolyn Crumley, DNP, RN, ACNS-BC, CWOCN, presented a concurrent student workshop, “Wound, Ostomy & Continence Nursing – WOC Nurses: Who we are, what we do,” which provided an overview of the impact that the WOC specialty has on patient outcomes and the various opportunities for board-certified WOC nurses. Carolyn also participated in a nursing specialty showcase panel presentation, with many students expressing an interest and requesting additional information.

Interestingly enough, in an unusual coincidence, the panel participants who represented eight different nursing specialties included a classmate from each of Carolyn’s nursing education programs – BSN, MSN and DNP!

Read Carolyn’s thoughts on her informative presentation and how she hoped it impacted the students:

1. What is one piece of information you hope attendees took away and found helpful from your student workshop, "WOC Nurses: Who we are, what we do?"

I hope that the nursing students who attended the session gained a better understanding of the WOC specialty nursing practice – whether they were interested in pursuing WOC specialty practice as their career path or in working with WOC nurses within their organization in other capacities. For those attendees who were interested in pursuing the WOC specialty practice, I hope that they found the discussion of the educational and certification options helpful. Finally, I hope that my passion for working with wound, ostomy and continence patients inspired them to seek out an area of nursing in which they feel the same dedication and personal satisfaction.

2. What piece of advice did you provide the students during the Nursing Specialty showcase panel presentation?

I stressed to the students that if you are not experiencing personal fulfillment in a nursing position that you are working in, explore the multitude of other opportunities. And it is not all about how much money that you make!

3. What did you like most about presenting to nursing students at the NSNA conference?

It was inspiring to see a new generation of nurses involved with a professional organization, even prior to graduation! I heard several other presenters who reinforced the benefits of continuing their involvement with the various nursing and specialty organizations.

Tags:  advice  conference  continence  NSNA  nurse  nursing student  ostomy  panel  specialty  WOC Nurse  workshop  wound 

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A New Beginning

Posted By Jenna A. Bertini, Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Society member Ann-Marie Waechter, BSN, RN, CWCN, MS-BC, is a wound care nurse and volunteer with the global charity Mercy Ships on board the world’s largest private hospital ship, the Africa Mercy. Ann-Marie is writing a series of blogs for the Society and its members to share her experiences on the Africa Mercy and to inspire other nurses. You can read Ann-Marie's first story below.

 

If you have a story you would like to share, please email us at share@wocn.org.



 

A New Beginning


     After a full life of school, study, marriage and raising children, my childhood dream is realized. My husband, Tom, took early retirement two years ago and asked, “How about looking into volunteering for Mercy Ships?” From the age of 10, after reading about the hospital ship, SS Hope, I knew I wanted to be a nurse and someday work on a hospital ship. Maybe because patience is not one of my virtues, I never imagined I would live so much life and see my dream realized at the age of 60! In the fall of 2014, after applying and waiting 18 months for a position to become available, Tom and I reported to Mercy Ships headquarters in Texas for our “Onboarding Training.” We spent five weeks in Texas and then our onboarding group headed for Madagascar for two weeks of required field training. There we began to learn the realities of living and working as a community.

 


Tom and Ann-Marie Waechter volunteer with Mercy Ships onboard the world’s largest private hospital ship, the Africa Mercy. ©Mercy Ships

 

     When we were first contacted with the news that, finally, there were positions for both of us on the ship, we were asked if it mattered to us where the ship was going – it struck me as an odd question. However, for the first time ever, the Africa Mercy sat out in the water with nowhere to go. Originally scheduled to head for Benin, Ebola had broken out in West Africa, leaving the ship unable to fulfill its promise to the government of Benin to spend 10 months in the port of Cotonou. Although the Africa Mercy successfully completes thousands of specialized surgeries each year, we are not equipped to effectively address infectious diseases such as Ebola.


     After a lot of prayers, miracles opened doors and in what would normally take six to 18 months to sign agreements and protocols with a receiving government, Mercy Ships was able to do in five days. The way was open for the Africa Mercy to be welcomed into Toamasina, Madagascar.


     After an amazing 18 months and two field services in Madagascar, we have finally arrived in Benin to fulfill our promise from two years ago. Back in West Africa, where the work of the Africa Mercy has been focused over the years, the crew that has been here before were beaming with excitement as we sailed into the port and capital city of Cotonou – our new home for the next 10 months.

  

The Africa Mercy sails into Cotonou, Benin where the Mercy Ships volunteer crew will provide free surgeries, healthcare training and other services for the next 10 months. ©Mercy Ships / credit: Katie Keegan

 

     Our advance team, already here for three months, and an African band were here to welcome us. Before the end of the day, we will have been welcomed by the First Lady of the country and top officials in a formal ceremony.

 

     And so we begin again… the Africa Mercy, the flagship of Mercy Ships, following the “2,000 year old model of Jesus, to provide hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor” will stay in Benin for the next 10 months providing specialized surgery to the poorest of the poor, those who would have no other access to the surgical care we provide. The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery published a report in 2015 stating that there are four times as many deaths worldwide resulting from lack of access to safe, affordable surgical and anesthetic care than from malaria, TB and HIV combined. Mercy Ships works to fill that gap.

 

The advance team for Mercy Ships worked in Benin prior to the ship’s arrival to prepare arrangements for the Africa Mercy’s field service. They greet the floating hospital in matching African dress as the vessel sails in to dock in Cotonou. ©Mercy Ships / credit: Katie Keegan


     We docked on a Thursday and by Friday there was a flurry of activity on and off the ship. The five hospital wards, along with the OR complex, with everything secured for sail, have to be unpacked, cleaned, sterilized and setup. The nurses that were already onboard cleaned everything twice with Tristel – and I mean everything. Every wall, ceiling, floor, cabinet, counter, piece of equipment, cord, mattress, bed frame, bin, trash receptacle, bio-waste container and more, was deep cleaned by the nurses who will use these wards to care for the approximate 1,700 patients who will receive surgery on this field service. The pharmacy was opened, cleaned and shipping containers organized with the medications for the field service, for patients and crew alike, along with the lab and radiology.



Our Beninoise crew member, Bio-med technician Emmanuel Essah, presents the Benin Flag to the First Lady of Benin who came to meet the Mercy Ship upon arrival in her country. ©Mercy Ships / credit : Tim Baskerville

 

     A team of people from the United States helped set up all the facilities off the ship, which includes huge tents on the dock housing our admissions, rehab, ponseti and screening teams, as well as our infant feeding program and outpatient clinic. The outpatient clinic is where all our wound care is done and it will by my “home” until June. In town, we have facilities loaned to us by the government for the duration of our stay, which will house the dental clinic, eye clinic and the Hospital Outpatient Extension (H.O.P.E.) Center.


     The flurry of activities included the beginning of screening. For the next three weeks, our team of nurses will pre-screen as many people as they can, who line up outside the screening center to see if their condition fits the criteria of the surgeons who will soon arrive. It is a difficult and emotionally challenging job; possibly the most difficult on the ship. We have a limited number of surgical slots for each surgical specialty: plastics, orthopedics, maxillofacial, general and women’s health.


     Although many people come with surgical conditions, much more come with non-surgical conditions hoping for help. Some are palliative and are followed by our Palliative Care team. Others need surgeries that we are unable to provide. Of the several thousand people waiting in line this first week of screening, 355 were given appointments to be seen by the surgeons. Every person we have to turn away is gut-wrenching. The screening team, along with the entire Africa Mercy community, reminds each other of the lives we have seen changed from the surgeries we are able to provide. The joy we see on the faces of those we are able to serve make it all worthwhile.

 

The dockside tents serve as an extension of the Mercy Ship and will house the outpatient clinic where I will work for the next 10 months. ©Mercy Ships

 

     During the first field service in Madagascar, I served as the Crew Nurse in the Crew Clinic, sharing the same hallway as the hospital. It was a wonderful opportunity to serve and get to know the approximate 400 crew onboard, but my heart longed to work with the patients I saw daily walking the halls, experiencing the miraculous surgeries done by the surgeons who volunteer their time here.


     Thanks to Emory University’s Long Distance Learning Program, and a generous donor who provided enough bandwidth so we could download video on the ship, I was able to begin their Wound Care Program in January 2015. In June when the ship left Madagascar for its two month shipyard period, I headed to Atlanta to do Emory’s Wound Care “Bridge Week.” I am so grateful that the staff at Emory designed a program that made it possible for me to fulfill my second dream – becoming a wound care nurse. Less than a week before we had to return to the ship, I took and passed my certification exam. I became a CWCN!


     During our second field service in Madagascar, I transferred to the outpatient clinic and I love it. It’s the best nursing job I’ve ever had! After all this time, I feel as if I’ve found my place in nursing. Our first surgeries in Benin begin in September and the outpatient clinic will open soon after. Benin is a new beginning – who will we see, what will we see that’s never been seen before, what patients will we come to love, what will cause us struggles, what will bring us joy, what miracles will we see? For now they are only questions, but the entire Africa Mercy crew works with anticipation for the answers soon to come.

 

     For more information about Mercy Ships please go to www.mercyships.org.

Tags:  advance  Africa  Africa Mercy  anesthetic  care  conditions  CWCN  hospital ship  laboratory  medication  Mercy Ships  palliative  patients  pharmacy  radiology  screening  service  surgery  team  woc nurse 

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WOCN Society Member Highlights Experience Presenting at the 2016 National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) Conference

Posted By Jenna A. Bertini, Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, April 19, 2016

WOCN Society member, Teri Robinson, RN, BSN, CWON, shared her recent experience about presenting educational sessions at the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) Conference in Orlando, Florida.

You can read Teri's story below, and if you have a story you would like to share please email us at share@wocn.org.

It was a great opportunity to present at NSNA in Orlando this year. I was able to meet a student board member and the editor. It was very impressive to see the new generation of nurses active in nursing.  Their excitement and passion validated why I chose this career and why I still love it!

I presented two sessions on “Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses: Who we are and what we do”.  Both sessions were extremely well attended. The first session was completely full and the second was ¾ full.  I had great questions from the audience during and after the presentations.  These included flexibility of the role, the schools offered, and private practice opportunities.  This was a very rewarding experience. I am thankful for the opportunity to share the varied roles Nursing can offer, especially WOC nursing specialty.

Tags:  NSNA  nursing  nursing student  WOC  woc nurse  WOCN  WOCN Society 

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